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Manukau Economic Growth Rate Tops 7%

10 August 2004

Manukau Economic Growth Rate Tops 7%

Manukau's economy grew at 7.3% over the year to March 2004. Population growth and the surging property market were major factors. The population grew by around 10,000 and Manukau is fastest growing city in New Zealand, although a slowdown is expected over this year due to an expected big drop in immigrant numbers.

Although the New Zealand economy as a whole has been very strong, Manukau's growth was around double the national rate.

The city's fast-rising population produced strong demand for new housing, particularly in and around Botany. This has fed into strong retail spending and in wholesaling. Last year was a great year to own a retail business in Manukau - sales were up by 27%, which is three times the national rate.

The bustling economy produced 7,500 new jobs and as a result the Manukau unemployment rate fell by 10% and the jobless total is now 14,389. However, as elsewhere around the country, many businesses are struggling with a labour shortage and cannot find enough staff - both skilled and unskilled positions are going begging. This also affects building-related trades such as building and plumbing. The biggest job gains came in the property sector because of the hectic construction activity.

Although the growth factors are expected to ease this year, in particular migration and demand for housing, recent spending announcements in the Budget will be a further stimulus to the Manukau economy. Much of the new social spending to target problem areas will focus on parts of Manukau, boosting the economy by around $160 million and create 1300 new jobs.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says it's gratifying to see the city moving ahead so fast. "It adds to our overall prosperity and also creates employment for our new residents and school leavers. Manukau enjoys a number of natural advantages that make it attractive to new businesses, such as our location and reasonably-priced land. But the Council's business-friendly approach is also a factor.

"We are determined to continue playing our part in assisting economic development of the city. That includes not just providing basic infrastructure such as good roads, but also also working hard to attract new business start-ups and helping them flourish. However as well as attracting New Zealand companies we are now also aiming at persuade foreign businesses to move here. It's a global market now and Manukau must be competitive with cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to prosper in future."

Although the 2003 growth rate was unusually high, strong economic growth is expected to continue in coming years, and with that will come many career and job opportunities. Council research indicates that over the next 7 years there will be an extra 166,000 job vacancies within Manukau - and that includes openings for 107 clowns, magicians and acrobats!

ENDS

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